There’s an important bill making its way through the New Jersey Legislature which could have a profound impact on transit service in the Garden State. A bill introduced in March by Senators Ray Lesniak and Nick Sacco, with an identical House bill sponsored by Assemblymembers John Wisniewski and and Elizabeth Muoio, would add two new members to the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors: one who regularly uses NJ Transit rail services, and one who regularly uses NJ Transit bus service.
It’s about time transit riders had better representation on the board, especially now that they may be facing yet another fare increase. Today, the voice of riders is only heard during public testimony or via SCOREcard questionnaires, and even though the current law says that at least one member of the board is required to be a regular transit rider, NJ Transit’s website does not indicate which member that is (although we’re fairly certain we can rule out one).
The relevant changes to the existing law are as follows (text in brackets indicates deleted text, underlined text indicates new language):
The corporation shall be governed by a board which shall consist of [eight] 10 members.
[Seven] Nine of the members shall be voting members
At least [one] three public [member] members shall be [a] regular public transportation [rider] riders, two of whom shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the Transportation Management Association Council of New Jersey. Of those public members recommended by the Transportation Management Association Council of New Jersey, one shall be a regular New Jersey Transit motorbus regular route service rider and one shall be a regular New Jersey Transit train or light rail vehicle rider.
The bill was released from the Senate Transportation Committee in May and is now awaiting vote in the full Senate. If passed by the Senate, the bill would then need to makes its way through the Assembly. Tri-State urges the legislature and the Governor to make this bill a top priority.